Thousands take to Israeli streets in protests over pandemic handling
Thousands of demonstrators took the streets outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s house over the weekend, in what appeared to be the largest protest to date calling for the embattled Israeli prime minister to resign.
Rallies on Saturday night were held in Jerusalem, home to the official residence of the 70-year-old leader, as well as his beach house in central Israel, near Tel Aviv, and at dozens of road intersections across the country.
Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have crammed roads and squares, calling for Netanyahu to resign, protesting his government’s handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and charges of alleged corruption.
While Netanyahu has attempted to downplay it, the movement shows little sign of abating, with gatherings peaking at the start and end of the country’s weekend on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Hebrew media speculated that at least 10,000 people demonstrated in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, although it was hard to gauge the real size of the protest at a normally busy intersection.
French health officials continue to urge people to follow the Covid-19 distancing and protection advice in response to an increase in positive cases but the message is not being heeded by all.
At least 40 people have been infected across five regions and Switzerland following a wedding party last month. The reception, which took place on a cruise boat on the lake at Annecy in the Haute-Savoie was attended by 88 guests. Two waiters from a local catering company and three crew were also present.
Although everyone was asked to keep their masks on and respect the social distancing advice, only the crew did so.
After the three-hour cruise 21 of the 93 people on the vessel had caught the coronavirus. The three crew members, who wore masks throughout, were not among them.
The first guest tested positive two days after the wedding reception. It took another three days to alert the catering company and waiters, one of whom tested positive. However, in the interim, he had served at an engagement party 100km from Annecy where he was in contact with 37 people, two of whom tested positive.
Another wedding guest, who later tested positive, had in the meantime celebrated his birthday in a restaurant.
A woman and her daughter were also found to be positive several days after the wedding. By then, the child had visited a leisure centre and had a sleepover with a friend, who also caught the virus. In one week, the child was in contact with 28 people, 25 of them children. Three of them tested positive.
Ignoring the 14-day self-quarantine rules, the mother took her contaminated child to a christening the following weekend during which they were in contact with 30 people.
Plans are being assessed after a rise in Covid-19 cases forced the prime minister to slow the lockdown easing on Friday, with planned relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors delayed.
Johnson held a “war game” session with the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could stall any potential economic recovery.
According to the Sunday Times, measures under consideration include asking the elderly to shield once again and lockdown-like conditions for London should there be a second wave.
Under the proposals, a greater number of people would be asked to take part in the shielding programme, based on their age or particular risk factors that have been identified since March, said the Telegraph.
It could even see those aged between 50 and 70 given “personalised risk ratings”, in a move that would add to the 2.2 million who were deemed most vulnerable and asked to shield themselves from society during the spring peak.
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